My Third Marathon: Boston Marathon, Finishing Strong and Zen

That’s it, I am breaking the pattern and writing my first race report since well … May 1, 2018, my first marathon, which was the Cornwall marathon. I didn’t even write a race report for my first Boston Marathon in 2019.

Why now? I need to break the pattern of just living life as it is and remember to be mindful of why I do what I do. What I have noticed this year is that I tend to be on cruise control where I just live my life without being mindful, which makes me forget to fully live and remember all of my experiences. I want to remember what happened one week ago on October 11, 2021. My first race since the pandemic started.

I want to write this because the last race report (Cornwall Marathon) put me in the right mind to show up for my first race in over two years.

3:18:19 … they say that Boston Marathon is a hard course and it is a hard one. I beat my last Boston race by almost three minutes. This is just a bunch of numbers and doing this race is so much more than the statistics that this event holds.

The Trip to Boston, Massachusetts

I am freaking out big time. Taking the plane in the middle of the pandemic is pretty scary at this point.

I need to get tested for COVID 19 before I leave and make an appointment in the states to take another COVID test on the day before the race for me to be able to come back to Canada.

With all of that, I need to be assured that I have all of the paper work and all of my travelling applications on my phone, ready to go. For me, that is the biggest stressor before even doing the Boston Marathon.

I had no idea how this race and this weekend would go. Not the optimal state of mind for racing, right?  

The funny part is that going there was not as hard as I thought it would be … Crazy how sometimes your ideas can be so far from reality …

Passing the Test and the Expo and Getting Inspired

I was sharing the hotel with two other ladies so we decided to do the testing and the expo together. We tested negative for the test and then we knew that everything was going to be good from now on.

Normally, an expo has so many companies showing you the things that they can sell you that will change your life forever. This one was different. There were only the event sponsors so going through lasted only …20 minutes?!

We did have a nice beer before noon from the official beer of the 125th Boston Marathon, we found our names on the list and then … we rested. Less is more during this time.

Following the expo, my roommate reminded me of my Cornwall marathon so I read it and then I got inspired for the next day. Life was good and I was getting into the right state of mind.

Race Day

“Going with the flow, zero expectations, trusting your guts, breathing, relaxing, observing, letting go.” Yep, I just quoted myself … weird, right?

Trusting your guts. My gut was telling me to listen to my friend from Montreal (Michel who works at la boutique endurance). Pace yourself in the beginning and save some energy for the climbing towards the 25k mark.

My mantra was to spin my legs, and don’t give a damn about my pace when I was climbing. My plan was to stay between 4:25/km and 4:45/km until the climbs and spin my legs whenever I felt a climb. Go with the hill, not against it, let it come me, embrace it. I wasn’t going to allow the hills to kill my legs…

Around the 30-kilometre mark, I felt my left calf but I knew I was OK and that I was going to be OK. I knew I still had another twelve kilometres in me. The crowd was wild and I was owning “heart break hill”. I kept passing so many people, I could not believe it. With 7 kilometres to, I knew I was going to be able to go faster and let it go, to finish strong.

Next thing you know, I crossed the line and felt the best I have felt in over two years. I felt strong and so happy that I was able to once again push my boundaries. I found hope. I felt happy and felt relaxed.

Celebratory Meal

After the race we went out for dinner and I heard so many success stories about the Boston Marathon. I will also cherish one moment that happened at the restaurant. The table next to us was American and they started to sing the Canadian anthem for us. The next thing you know, my Montrealer friend started to sing the American anthem and then the whole restaurant started to sing with us. The staff included. It almost felt as if everything was back to normal. The community there really knows how to make the Boston Marathon event a day to remember.

Here are my final thoughts after doing Boston Marathon for my second time.

  1. Your environment is everything, make it a positive one before, during and after a race.
  2. Trust your training
  3. Know your strengths
  4. Know what you need to work on
  5. Race day is not the day that you should work on your weaknesses, it’s the day that you need to play your strengths.
  6. People are everything, you can learn from everyone.
  7. The journey … Remember it and write it down, you may learn from it in the future.
  8. I truly enjoy marathons because the notion of time becomes irrelevant when you are present in the now, when you are truly in the zone.
  9. I have to start racing again, stop allowing fear to guide my life. Dare to get out there once again.

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